Hout Bay’s overall crime rates drop

Western Cape MEC of community safety, Dan Plato, said crime reductions should not be celebrated.

The release of the national annual crime statistics on Friday September 2 showed that – with the exception of crimes such attempted murder, common as-sault and robbery of residential premises, commercial crime and shoplifting – the overall crime rate in Hout Bay has dropped significantly.

But Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said it could be due to the fact that less crime has been reported, rather than less crime having been perpetrated.

He said according to statistics, 492 963 crimes were reported for the year 2014/15 compared to 490 383 for the year 2015/16.

“I would caution against read- ing too much into reported decreases in some crime categories, as many people still do not report crimes to the police,” Mr Plato said.

In Hout Bay, the murder rate has come down while there has been a drastic increase in at-tempted murder and common assault. Furthermore, theft of motor vehicles or motorcycles showed a slight increase while theft from a motor vehicle showed an increase of 271 reported cases for the period April 2014 to March 2015 to 334 reported cases for the period April 2015 to March 2016.

Commercial crime and shoplifting also increased while there was a slight decrease of drug-related crimes with 352 drug-related cases reported between April 2014 and March 2015 and 325 drug-related cases reported from April 2015 to March 2016

Mr Plato said although at first glance the crime situation in the Western Cape showed statistical improvements in 17 categories, he was concerned about the 10 categories, mostly violent crime categories, which showed an in- crease.

He said drug-related crimes in the Western Cape now equate to 36.26 percent of the total drug-related crime in the country, compared to the 33.2 percent in 2014/15.

“This is a situation we cannot accept as normal,” he said.

Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman, Toby Adams agreed and urged the commu- nity not to become complacent and to continue working to- gether to reduce crime in Hout Bay.

He said the six-month-old crime statistics released last week are of little use today other than to report that crime in Hout Bay has reduced, compared to the previous year, except for attempted mur- der, residential robbery, theft out of a motor vehicle and shop- lifting.

“At present, Community Crime Prevention (CCP), various Security Service Providers (SSPs), Neighbourhood Watch (HBNW), various Metro Law Enforcement agencies and the general public are working together to provide the SAPS with relevant information to allow them to take preventative action before the crime happens and the CCP, HBNW and the various SSP’s need all the financial support they can get to continue with their excellent work,” he said.

CCP chairman, JJ De Villiers said he had to study the statistics first before he could comment.

Acting station commander, Captain Jacques Lourens said the de-crease in the crime statistics are due to the hard work and commitment of the various crime fighting organisations in Hout Bay.

He said the increase in the attempted murder rate was due to a few single incidents in Imizamo Yethu but since the IY patrollers have been patrolling the area, the next statistics should show a decrease.

He said robbery of residential premises remains a priority for the police as identifying the suspects is often difficult as they wear balaklavas and gloves making facial and fingerprint recognition impossible.

He encouraged all the relevant parties to keep up the good work.

Mr Plato said the statistics released last week showed the safety reality of many people in the Western Cape on a daily basis and demonstrated the reality within which the Department of Community Safety is actively trying to help create safer environments for people to live, work and move about in.

“We cannot celebrate reductions in attempted murders for instance, when in real terms al-most half a million people have been severely affected by a crime in the Western Cape over the last year,” he said.